7 Great Gardening Tips and Tricks for Beginners

In the United States, 35% of households garden at home or in the community. With one in every three Americans trying their hand at gardening, it’s easy to feel inspired.

Gardening can take a lot of work and skill if you want a beautiful garden. But the real question is, how do you approach starting to garden if you’re a beginner? Here are some of the best gardening tips and tricks to help make the process easier.

For those looking for the best, check out seven of the best gardening tips and tricks for beginners. Read on to learn more.

tips and tricks when learning to garden

1. Choose the Right Location

Step one in how to plant a garden begins with choosing the right location. In general, its easiest to garden in a sunny location. Most vegetables and fruits require a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight every day.

Some culinary herbs, root veggies, and greens will grow in partial shade, so they’re perfect for the side of a building. Choose late afternoon shaded areas for southern gardens in particularly hot areas.

Garden Tip: Here are some lovely herbs that grow well in shady areas

Don’t forget to plant in well-drained soil if possible. Avoid areas where water will likely pool and drown the roots of plants. Consider planting in a raised soil bed or in containers (learn about different types of gardens).

Find a stable environment for your garden. Keep away from areas that produce strong winds or prevent pollinators from coming around. Avoid places with high foot traffic including pedestrians, wildlife, and pets (if possible). But do remember…plants will grow in the most trying of places! And, plants that you see often tend to get tended more than out-of-the-way plants.

Extra Tips: For your first garden, try a small plot rather than trying to grow anything and everything… everywhere. Plant the rows from north to south to make sure you get the best opportunity for sunlight. Allow yourself space to walk between areas to access your plants and pull weeds. Planning adequately is perhaps the most basic of all gardening tips and tricks.

2. Know When to Plant

One of the best gardening tricks is knowing when to plant your garden. It’s important to know every region has a unique planting time depending on weather and terrain.

Consult the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map to gauge the standard planting expectations. It uses estimated frost dates and traces the average annual extreme minimum temperature to determine the best time of year to plant your crops. Here is a detailed post all about finding your growing zone.

Garden Tip: Tomatoes are one of the most weather-sensitive plants in the garden. They hate the cold! Here is a guide on when its ok to put tomatoes outdoors: When to Plant Tomato Plants Into the Outdoor Garden.

October garden harvest fruit and vegetable close up
Last of the main fruit and vegetable harvest for the year

3. Decide What to Grow

One of the important gardening tips for beginners is to decide what to grow early on in the process. Choose fruits and vegetables that you and your family enjoy eating. Try to be realistic about the amount of produce you will utilize. Be sure not to over-plant.

Some of the most common fruits and vegetables planted each year include:

  • Tomatoes
  • Zucchini
  • Peas
  • Peppers
  • Lettuce

Think about the availability of produce at your local grocery store. Consider growing items that are less common to add variety and flare to your diet. Remember it’s important to use high-quality seeds to make sure you have higher yields when it comes to harvest time. 

Consider how long some fruits and vegetables take to grow. Produce like bush beans and radishes mature very quickly. Plants like lettuce may yield more than one crop per season.

Some produce are “cold season” and grow best in the springtime, like spinach and root veggies. Save heat-loving plants like tomatoes and peppers for the warmer soil in the summertime.

4. Invest in Garden Tools

If you only remember one of the gardening tips, don’t forget to invest in basic garden tools. The right tools can make a world of difference in your gardening experience. Consider investing in items such as a:

  • Handheld Trowel
  • Long-Handled Shovel
  • Metal Bow Rake
  • Handheld Cultivator Rake
  • Weeding Hoe

Avoid purchasing cheap plastic tools that will break quickly. Look for estate and yard sales to catch the best bargains on real metal gardening tools (honestly – finding second-hand tools is one of the best gardening tips and tricks out there). Remember to purchase tools that are the right size for you and your body.

Garden Tip: Don’t forget to keep your garden tools sharp and clean so they will last throughout your gardener career (or at least as long as possible).

More Reading: 101 Gardening Tools for the True Plant Lover

5. Test the Soil

Check out your garden soil before you begin the planting process. Consider the possibility of soil contamination from nearby structures such as roadways. Steer clear from areas with heavy traffic or old house paint. 

Most fruits and vegetables prefer a soil with a pH of 7 (neutral). Produce such as potatoes prefer slightly acidic soils and vegetables like brassicas prefer more alkaline environments.

Consider professional lab tests to determine the quality of your soil. This will prevent long term growing issues down the road like pests and low nutrition.

6. Nurture Your Plants

After you plant your produce, the work is only beginning. Create a schedule and keep a watchful eye on your fruits and vegetables. Depending on what you choose to grow, different plants will require unique time requirements. 

Pull weeds early on to avoid long-term damage to your plants. Most plants require one inch of water each week. Consider rainfalls during the week and water your plants accordingly to avoid wasting tap water. 

garden tips and tricks for beginners

7. Celebrate Your Harvest

Take time to celebrate your harvest! It is a big accomplishment to grow any of your own fruits, vegetables, flowers, foliage, and/or kitchen herbs. Remember to be diligent about harvesting times to avoid losing any produce. Extra produce can be canned, dehydrated, frozen, donated, or shared with friends.

I hope you have a wonderful time trying out these gardening tips and tricks. Enjoy the harvest!

TOP TIP: For an endless supply of gardening tips, check out this list of wonderful online gardening classes.

Mary Jane

Mary Jane is a home gardener who loves creating healthy, welcoming spaces (indoors and out!) - About Mary Jane (https://www.homefortheharvest.com/authors/about-mary-jane-duford/)

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